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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Earl Krugel (A letter From a Friend)

I met Earl at the Men's Federal Correction Center.
I was a Corrections Officer at the jail when Earl first arrived.

The first thing you noticed about him was he had some kind of inner strength, he didn't seem aloof, exactly, but it was like he had, I don't know how to describe it, (I'm not much of a writer) a power that he drew on out of himself.
The first day, during report, one of the other "C.O."s" told me, "That's Earl Krugel, a high profile case, David, he's the West coast Chairman of the Jewish Defense League."

I'd read about the case, of course, and the nickname, "Captain Krugel" popped into my head, so I always called him "Captain."
I found myself drawn to him immediately,
I was having some problems at home, I was separated from my wife, and Earl had a way of reaching out to people.
With all the legal problems he had himself, he spent his time counseling everyone around him, and he reached out to me, as well.

Late one morning I was doing rounds, I made a check next to his name and remarked, in "comments", "studying Bible, no apparent problems, adjusting well."
"How you doing, captain?" I asked.
"I am well," he said, lowering his leather bound Jewish Bible. "And you, David, how are you?"
Although, like I said, I found myself liking Earl immediately, as a trained professional I always did my best to appear impassive while conversing with inmates.
"I'm fine, Captain, just dandy."
He smiled a little and said, "Your words say one thing but your eyes say another."
I looked at him, "You're guessing. But you're right. It's my wife. Last night I went by to see her and there was a man there. I almost lost it. I could have killed the dude."
Earl got up and walked towards me. "There is a strength." he said, a slight smile on his lips.
"What are you talking about, Captain?" I asked.
His right hand shot out through the bars and grasped mine in a gentle yet vise-like grip.
I'd never seen a move that quick, yet I didn't feel threatened.
Something was flowing from him to me.
"Pull your hand away." He said.
I couldn't move.
"It's the strength of our people, our faith and our G-d." He said, and let my hand go.
"Our G-d?" I shot back. "You mean the one who let most of my family be tortured and murdered by the Germans in Europe?"
Earl's eyes were hooded but burning with intensity.
"You seek to know why.
You don't understand, so you turn your back on your faith, your people, your wife, and your
G-d." I started to walk towards the next cell. "Don't preach to me, Convict." I snapped.
Earl had a composure that was unreal.
"You don't understand the birth of a sapling in a Redwood forest. You don't understand the crash of waves on every beach in the world, one after the other. You don't understand the tears in the eyes of a hungry child. You don't understand the explosion of a supernova which pulls solar systems into the void and returns a million verdant planets, so do you now turn your back on the universe?"
I just looked at him.
"Your wife is coming back to you, David. Take her to synagogue, return to our people. Make babies. Be a light to the nations."
I spoke over my shoulder, cynically, "What are you now, Captain, a prophet?"
He grasped his bible from the bed and and gracefully lowered himself onto the floor of the cell, crossing his legs, the Book on his lap. "I am a man, David. A child of G-d, like you."

The next day there was a small riot in the day room. Two black convicts were beating Hell out of some poor white kid.
A phalanx of C.O.s headed towards the scene to break it up.
Earl emerged from a crowd of screaming inmates, grabbed the two black guys, one with each hand, and pulled them off of the kid.
"Enough!" he shouted.
A strange stillness descended over the inmates. The disturbance was over that quick.

Later, during rounds, I stopped by Earl's cell.
"Captain." I nodded, holding my clipboard.
"David." he responded, still sitting in what he later told me was the "Lotus position" on the cement floor.
I looked towards him. "Don't get involved in inmate situations, Captain, that's our job."
He smiled, "As you wish."
Earl stood up and stretched, doing some slow ballet looking martial arts movements.
I went on, "My wife called last night, Captain, she wants to try again."
He detected the joy in my voice.
" A man and a woman. Two people, one flesh. Treasure her, my young friend."

Earl and I grew closer over the years. I was relieved, though saddened, when he was sentenced and assigned to what was considered a "nice" prison, as prisons go.
I went to wish him well as they called his name to roll up, but was called to another wing for an issue over there.
I almost missed him.
I trotted back to Earl's cellblock and saw him for what was to be the last time.
"Captain, Captain!" I yelled as Earl headed down the stairway, a saint like expression on his handsome face.
I broke and ran as he looked back vaguely in my direction.
In a minute he'd be gone and I'd never see him again.
I caught him as he stepped off of the metal stairway and put my hand on his arm.
He turned around and looked at me.
Tears welled up in my eyes.
"What?" he asked, softly.
"Good luck." I said, and hugged him fiercely.

They took him away and I never got to see him again, but I will never forget that remarkable man.

Three days later he was murdered.
Below are some of the details.
I wish to add that the U.S. Attorney was threatening to revoke the plea agreement since Earl refused to inform as was called for in the agreement.

On November 4, 2005, at the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix, Arizona, Krugel was murdered by another inmate, who used a concrete block to strike his head. Krugel had been at the prison for three days. As the case against Earl Krugel was on appeal at the time of his death, Judge Lew dismissed conviction.
"David Frank Jennings, 31, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix (FCI Phoenix), was sentenced here to 35 years in federal prison by Senior U.S. District Judge Earl H. Carroll. Jennings had pleaded guilty on October 25, 2007 to Second Degree Murder.
The facts showed that on November 4, 2005, inmate-victim Earl Krugel (62) was doing pushups in the recreation yard at FCI Phoenix when Jennings approached Krugel from behind and bludgeoned him in the head five times with a piece of concrete wrapped in a mesh bag. Krugel was pronounced dead on the scene."
The suspect, David Frank Jennings, 30, allegedly attacked Krugel from behind with a piece of concrete hidden in a bag while Krugel was using an exercise machine at a federal prison in Phoenix.
The indictment, issued by a federal grand jury on July 19, offers neither details nor motive, asserting that Jennings "with premeditation and malice aforethought willfully kill[ed] and murder[ed] Earl Leslie Krugel."


PHOENIX – David Frank Jennings, 31, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix (FCI Phoenix), was sentenced here to 35 years in federal prison by Senior U.S. District Judge Earl H. Carroll. Jennings had pleaded guilty on October 25, 2007 to Second Degree Murder.

The facts showed that on November 4, 2005, inmate-victim Earl Krugel (62) was doing pushups in the recreation yard at FCI Phoenix when Jennings approached Krugel from behind and bludgeoned him in the head five times with a piece of concrete wrapped in a mesh bag. Krugel was pronounced dead on the scene.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The prosecution was handled by Alison S. Bachus and Thomas C. Simon, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2008-060(Jennings)

Jennings is the only person charged in the killing, which took place in plain view. Authorities contend that Jennings acted alone.
"He was the only one charged. There was no conspiracy," said Ann Harwood, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's office in Phoenix, Authorities would say little else, including anything about the motive of the alleged killer, a small-time repeat offender with nothing in his rap sheet to suggest either this level of violence or any particular animosity toward the 62-year-old Krugel.
Krugel had been transferred to the Federal Corrections Institute (FCI) Phoenix, a medium security prison, just three days before the assault. To date, there is no indication that Krugel and Jennings knew each other. "My husband was brutally murdered just a few days after he was sent to that prison," Lola Krugel said. "He wasn't there long enough to make any deadly enemies."
At the time of the attack on Krugel, Jennings was serving a 70-month sentence at FCI Phoenix for a 2003 bank robbery in Las Vegas, which netted him $1,040. Because Jennings had threatened the teller during the robbery, authorities eventually extended his plea bargain sentence from 63 months to 70 months.
Jennings, who lived in Oregon before moving to Nevada, has multiple convictions, but court records reviewed by The Journal did not indicate any association with racist or anti-Semitic groups in or out of prison.
In 1993, Jennings was convicted in Oregon on an Assault III charge; a "class C" state felony, which resulted in an 18-month state prison sentence. In 1994 he was arrested and convicted for unauthorized use of a vehicle and sentenced to six months in jail.
In 1995, a probation violation cost him another six months.
He had apparently moved to Nevada by 1996. That same year he was arrested and pleaded guilty to state charges of grand larceny and unlawful possession of a credit card, for which he received a sentence of 16 to 72 months in state prison.
Krugel was transferred to the Phoenix facility to serve out the balance of a 20-year sentence, following his negotiated guilty plea to conspiracy, weapons and explosives charges.
The high-profile case against Krugel and the JDL involved an abortive bombing plot against possible targets that included a Culver City mosque and the field office of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), an Arab-American of Lebanese descent.
A fitness fanatic, Krugel was using exercise equipment when he was blind-sided between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Nov. 4, 2005.
Details of the assault did not emerge in previous reports; a review of the autopsy depicts a vicious attack.
His main injury was the initial blow to the back of his head, which crushed the left side of his skull and severely damaged his brain and brain stem. But his attacker also delivered multiple blows to Krugel's skull, face and neck, according to the autopsy, which was performed by the Maricopa County medical examiner and obtained by The Journal.
Krugel suffered multiple skull fractures, internal bleeding and multiple lacerations to his head, face and brain. The beating knocked out teeth and also fractured one of his eye sockets. Krugel was pronounced dead at the scene.


Barry Rubin

Engagement doesn’t always produce marriage.
In the U.S.-Iran case, diplomatic engagements have been repeatedly disastrous. Yet many think the idea of engagement was just invented and never tried.
1. President John Kennedy pressed Iran for democratic reforms in the early 1960s..
The Shah responded with his White Revolution which horrified traditionalists and moved them to active opposition. One of them was named Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
2. President Richard Nixon urged Iran in the early 1970s, under the Nixon Doctrine, to become a regional power since America was overextended in Vietnam.
The Shah embarked on a huge arms-buying campaign and close alliance stirring more opposition and fiscal strain, contributing to unrest.
3. In the late 1970s, President Jimmy Carter pushed Iran to ease restrictions. The result was Islamist revolution. Next, Carter urged the Shah not to repress the uprising, helping bring his downfall.
4. After the 1979 revolution, Carter engaged the new regime to show Khomeini that America was his friend.
National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, today advising Barack Obama, met Iranian leaders.
Tehran interpreted this engagement as an effort to subvert or co-opt the revolution, so Iranians seized the U.S. embassy and took everyone there hostage.
[1]5. The Reagan administration secretly engaged Iran in the mid-1980s to help free U.S. hostages of its terrorism. Result: a policy debacle and free military equipment for Iran. 6. In recent years there was a long engagement in which European states negotiated for themselves and America to get Tehran to stop its nuclear weapons’ drive. Iran gained four years to develop nukes; the West got nothing.
[2]The history of U.S. engagement with the PLO and Syria is similar. The Oslo era (1992-2000) was engagement as disaster, establishing a PLO regime indifferent to its people’s welfare, increasing radicalism and violence, with no gain for peace. Aside from the worsened security problem, Israel’s international image was badly damaged by concessions made and risks taken. America’s making the PLO a client brought it no gratitude or strategic gain.
[3]Similarly, Syria used the 1991-2000 engagement era to survive its USSR superpower sponsor’s collapse while doing everything it wanted: dominating Lebanon, sponsoring terrorism, and sabotaging peace. U.S. secretaries of state visited Damascus numerous times and achieved nothing, a process that continued up to 2004. Syria first helped Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, then sponsored terrorists who disrupted Iraq and killed Americans.
[4]There have, of course, been successful engagements—but not with Iran, Syria, or the PLO. The most successful was Egypt’s turnaround by Nixon and Kissinger. A partial success was changing Libya’s behavior.
In those two cases, American power, not compassion, achieved success.
Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi and Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat (“America holds 99 percent of the cards”) knew they were weak and needed to stop America from hitting them hard.Engagements, of course, have effects other than direct success. One is to buy time for someone. But who? If one party subverts other states, builds nuclear weapons, demoralizes the other’s allies, and sponsors terrorism during talks while the other side…just talks, the first side benefits far more.Second, if one side gets the other to make concessions to prove good faith and keep talks going, that side benefits. Keeping engagement going becomes an end in itself as the weaker side uses a diplomatic version of asymmetric warfare to make gains.Finally, while using talks to deescalate tensions apparently benefits everyone, matters are not so simple. By talking, a stronger side can throw away its leverage.
The weaker side does not have to back down to avoid confrontation.
So engagement, without pressure or threat, benefits the weaker side.
If the stronger side is eager to reach agreement, the weaker side has more leverage. The advantage is transferred from the strongest side to the most intransigent one. Here, Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah have the upper hand.
Senator Obama doesn’t understand these points.
To see how alien a normal liberal concept of foreign policy is for him, note what he could have said:“America must be strong to protect its interests, values, and friends against ruthless adversaries.
But if America is strong, it can also be flexible. Let us engage countries and leaders by telling them clearly our demands and goals.
Once Iran understands the United States will counter its threats of genocide against Israel, involvement in terrorism against Americans, and threats to our interests it may back down. If Iran gives up its extremism, we are ready to offer friendship.
But if Iran remains extremist we will quickly abandon engagement and never hesitate to respond appropriately.”
This way, a leader shows he knows how to use both carrots and sticks.
But Obama has never said anything like this. He has no concept of toughness as a necessary element in flexibility, or of deterrence as a precondition to conciliation.
Nor does he indicate that he would be steadfast if engagement failed.
He defines no U.S. preconditions for meeting or conditions for agreement.
He offers to hear Iran’s grievances but says nothing about American grievances.
Radical Islamists interpret this strategy as weakness of which they will take full advantage. That’s why Iran, Syria, and Hamas favor Obama.
Thus spoke Lebanese cleric Muhammad Abu al-Qat on Hizballah’s al-Manar television on May 10: “The American empire will very soon collapse….This won't happen as a result of war….An American Gorbachev will surface in America, and he will destroy this empire.
[5]Islamists and radicals want Obama because they understandably expect him to play into their hands. By the same token, more moderate Arab regimes and observers are horrified.Obama is so scary and is accused of appeasement not because he wants to meet enemies in person but because he doesn’t want to meet them in struggle.
He doesn’t know how international politics work through power, threats, deterrence, self-interest, and credibility.
He doesn’t comprehend that totalitarian ideologies cannot be moderated by apology or weakness.
Whatever you think of Senator John McCain, he understands these basic concepts. That’s why he’s a centrist who can be trusted to protect American national interests.
Whatever you think of Senator Hillary Clinton, she understands these basic concepts. T
hat’s why she’s a liberal who can be trusted to protect American national interests.
And that’s why Obama is both a dangerously na├»ve amateur and a leftist posing as a liberal.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); andThe Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA and other GLORIA Center publications or to order books, visit[1] On Points 1-4, see Barry Rubin, Paved with Good Intentions: The American Experience and Iran, (Oxford, 1980; Viking-Penguin, 1981)[2] On Point 5, see Barry Rubin, Cauldron of Turmoil: America in the Middle East, (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1992.) available for free at]. See also Barry Rubin, "Lessons from Iran," in Alexander T. J. Lennon and Camille Eiss, Reshaping Rogue States: Preemption, Regime Change, and U.S. Policy toward Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, (Boston: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 141-156, and “Regime Change and Iran: A Case Study,” Washington Quarterly, 2003.[3] On U.S. policy and the PLO, see Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography Oxford University Press 2003; paperback, 2005.British/Commonwealth edition: Continuum 2003. Australian edition: Allan & Unwin. Italian edition: Mondadori, 2004; Hebrew edition, Yediot Aharnot, 2005; Turkish edition, Aykiri Yayincilik, 2005.[4] On U.S. policy and Syria, see Barry Rubin, The Truth About Syria, Palgrave-MacMillan (2007); paperback, 2008.[5] Barry Rubin,Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center <>Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal <> Editor, Turkish Studies

Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel